Updates for Healthy Futures
DC Central Kitchen’s one-of-a-kind Healthy Corners program more than doubled the number of locations last summer from 28 stores to 67. To keep up with our growing delivery routes, we drafted an aging, unrefrigerated van into service and made do. But as summer approaches, we need your help to buy a truck that can keep produce cool and looking good despite Washington, DC’s brutal heat and humidity.
The new refrigerated delivery truck we need to meet the incredible demand for fresh fruits and vegetables among DC residents in low-income neighborhoods costs $55,000. Your donation toward the purchase of a new truck will bring affordable fruits and vegetables to our neighbors who rely on Healthy Corners for access to nutritious foods.
Our Healthy Corners program launched in 2011 with the goal of bringing affordable, high-quality produce and nutritious snacks to corner stores in Washington, DC’s ‘food deserts.’ These are parts of the city where widespread poverty and underdevelopment mean that residents have limited or no access to grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or other providers of healthy food. 71% of residents of DC’s food deserts are overweight or obese and 15% have diabetes.
We wanted our neighbors to have healthy choices. So Healthy Corners teamed up with small corner stores to give them the training, refrigerators, and heavily discounted wholesale deliveries of nutritious food they needed to finally sell healthy options at prices their customers could afford. And the community responded, purchasing 141,368 healthy items in 2014! A second refrigerated truck will allow us to deliver 104,000 additional items to participating corner stores in 2015.
And a new truck will allow us to do more than just keep food fresh in transit. With a second truck available, we can make smaller, twice-weekly deliveries to stores we currently visit just once a week. That means more appealing fruits and vegetables on the shelf, less waste of overripe produce, and more nourishing foods purchased.
DCCK Opens New Baking Corner to Provide Healthy, Whole Grain Snacks and Baked Goods to 35 Afterschool Programs
On August 7th we celebrated the official opening of DC Central Kitchen’s new Baking Corner! Thanks to key investments from our friends and partners, and a generous matching grant from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, DCCK is able to bring our healthy baking program to fruition.
Back in April we announced DC Central Kitchen Production Manager William Ferrell’s concept for an innovative baking program at DCCK, for which he hoped to create healthy, whole grain snacks and breads for the afterschool programs we serve. William, who came to DC Central Kitchen in 2010 after being released from prison, was a student in our Culinary Job Training program and now serves on staff as a supervisor in the Kitchen. With a long held passion for baking, and a personal interest area for culinary growth, William realized he could make our snacks for afterschool programs more nutritious and less costly by doing more baking on-site and relying less on packaged, processed foods.
William creatively uses ingredients such as natural sweeteners and avocados to make traditional favorites, like banana bread and cheesecake, much healthier. For the Baking Corner opening, William shared samples of some of his original baked goods recipes, including pumpkin bread with lower sugar content, and whole wheat biscuits. Our guests indulged in his healthy treats while exploring some of the new equipment purchased for the Baking Corner. Among several items that now make up this new space, William and his team have access to multiple stand mixers and special attachments, a proofing box to help bread rise, a wood work table for rolling dough, and lots of new baking pans.
We can only achieve our mission to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities with the help of our many partners. Because of this support, William, his team, and the more than 15,000 volunteers that work in the Kitchen each year are now able to put his ideas into action by working in this space to create new, innovative snacks and healthy meal concepts for our partners. We’re excited to leverage the talent and passion of our culinary staff and dedicated volunteers to ensure that the afterschool programs for low-income children that rely on our meals receive healthy and nutritious snacks that fuel their minds and future success!
Join us at the Kitchen to check out this awesome new baking space and help put William’s brainchild into action.
Check out our staff on Let’s Talk Live this week, featuring our efforts to fight hunger and promote healthy eating. We’re excited to be part of this Home Cooking vs. Hunger Week. A huge thanks to Walmart and NewsChannel 8 for promoting our work.
The DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is providing DC Central Kitchen with a $250,000 grant to double the number of stores participating in Healthy Corners. Healthy Corners is the first program of its kind aimed at combating food deserts and making healthier food more available in DC’s low income communities. Since 2011, DC Central Kitchen has partnered with 33 corner stores to provide fresh produce and healthy snacks at the stores, which are often the closest affordable grocery option. With the DSLBD grant, DC Central Kitchen will expand the program to 63 stores this summer.
The grant will help DC Central Kitchen continue its important work of providing the District’s underserved communities with healthy food. DC Central Kitchen has been instrumental in leveraging their resources to provide valuable services to vulnerable populations, and we are very grateful for their work.
The agency’s partnership with DC Central Kitchen began two years ago when they funded the initial rollout of the program through a six-month pilot period. The program has since worked with many partners, including DC Department of Health, CoBANK, Kaiser Permanente, Aetna, NBC Universal, Tavis Smiley-UMD, Wallace Genetic Foundation and the McGuinn Family Foundation. By providing strategic marketing support and heavily discounted product, Healthy Corners has brought DC’s corner stores into the healthy food business. In 2013, the participating stores grossed over $40,000 in sales and sold over 7,500 nutritious snacks.
Today represents a proven approach to public-private partnerships in D.C. Thanks to the Department of Small and Local Business Development, we now have the resources to expand into new neighborhoods, making healthy food more affordable and accessible to District residents.
Visit our Healthy Corners page for more information about the program.
Thanks to our friends at the CoStar Group, we now have a dehydrator at our Nutrition Lab that allows us to extend the life of fruit that would otherwise go to waste while creating new options for our line of Healthy Corners snacks.
Terence Hill, a graduate of our 93rd Culinary Job Training class, has been experimenting with dehydrating a variety of fruits including apples, bananas and pineapples that are approaching their sell by date. Produce items that may only have a couple good days left in their fresh state can last for months when properly dehydrated.
Healthy Corners will be incorporating these dried fruits into new varieties of trail mix, one of our most popular products, as well as selling them as stand-alone snacks. Terence is hard at work perfecting these new items, and they will roll out in our participating corner stores this summer.
Thanks to the CoStar Group for helping us bring these new products to our stores!
Today is Food Day, a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Here are 8 ways we’re using the power of food to change lives.
Combating Food Waste
Every day, DC Central Kitchen transforms 3,000 pounds of food into 5,000 meals that are distributed to local nonprofits serving at-risk populations and low income men and women. Last year, this saved the community over $3.6 million by transforming those leftovers into 2 million balanced meals.
Changing Lives through Culinary Job Training
Here at DC Central Kitchen, we believe that food not only nourishes bodies, but also minds, by creating opportunities to break the cycle of poverty. Through our 14 week Culinary Job Training Program, we’re shortening the line of the city’s hungry people and creating jobs for unemployed men and women in the food and hospitality industry.
Breaking through Nutritional Barriers with Healthy School Food
We’re serving 4,800 healthy, scratch-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and suppers every day at 9 DC schools. At the schools, we’re not just serving food but also changing eating habits and educating kids about nutrition. We’re teaching kids about how to eat healthier and how they can bring those healthy habits home.
Defeating Food Deserts with Healthy Corner Stores
Through our partnership with 32 DC corner stores, we’ve developed a new model to provide affordable fresh produce and healthy snacks for communities lacking sufficient access to nutritious food. Healthy Corners is the only program of its kind nationwide.
Resisting a Recession and Federal Shutdown
While Congress was squabbling over the budget and shutting down government services, DC Central Kitchen served over 80,000 meals to 88 local nonprofits and 60,000 meals to 9 DC Schools. Our meals saved those local nonprofits over $156,000, which they reinvested into unique programs serving their clients. DC Central Kitchen also creates jobs for its culinary graduates, and has hired over 60 men and women to produce our healthy and scratch-cooked meals.
Investing in Local Farms
Last year, we invested $156,523 in local farms by buying their produce and meat products, giving those farmers a crucial role in our work to combat hunger and poor health in DC by providing their healthy produce for our scratch-cooked meals.
Providing Street Outreach with First Helping
Every morning, DC Central Kitchen’s First Helping Outreach Team serves hot breakfasts at 3 sites around the city while connecting over 100 chronically homeless men and women to crucial services including drug rehabilitation, job placement, skills training, and transitional housing.
Partnering with the Restaurant Industry
DC Central Kitchen partners with hundreds of restaurants each year. Our city’s restaurants and chefs host our Culinary Job Training students as interns in their kitchens and teach special lessons. They also team up with us for great fundraising events, like the upcoming Capital Food Fight™ which will bring over 75 of our restaurant partners together to support DC Central Kitchen.